The Penguin History of New Zealand Paperback – 13 Oct 2003
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About the Author
Michael King, who was tragically killed in 2004, was one of New Zealand's leading historians. Over three decades he wrote or edited more than 30 books, most of them New Zealand history or biography. He won a wide range of awards for this work, including the New Zealand Book Award for Non-fiction, the Wattie Book of the Year (twice), the Montana Medal for Non-fiction and, in 2003, an inaugural Prime Minister's Award for Literary Achievement. He was a contributor to the prestigious Oxford History of New Zealand and wrote for all five volumes ofThe Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Dr King taught or held fellowships at seven universities in New Zealand and other countries, including Georgetown University in Washington DC, where he was Visiting Professor of New Zealand Studies. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
King's writing is straightforward and pleasant, foregoing the staid formalism of more academic works; although occasional offhandedness seems a little too breezy. That shouldn't take away from the breadth and depth of the work, however. King's angle seems to be that the central problem for, and function of, the state, particularly as the years roll on, is to reconcile the differing views, mores, cultures, norms and, most importantly, concepts of property, of Maori and white New Zealander (Pakeha). Whether or not this is too revisionist a view I don't know.
Other subjects are well-covered too, particularly the peculiarly strong devotion to Empire, the role of war in forging a national, or at least Pakeha, consciousness, and the repeatedly disastrous consequences for the natural environment of human colonisation, memorably described as "future eating".
There seemed to be a couple of lacunae, although these may well stem from the fact that the book is intended for a New Zealand readership which has at least the most basic understanding of New Zealand's history - i.e. I may well be barking up the wrong tree. For instance, as I understand it, the Muldoon era was marked by divisiveness caused in part by Muldoon's power of personality. There's no real sense of this in the book.Read more ›
Various reviews I have read of this book describe it as the ultimate review of New Zealand's history, and that the author Michael King who was one of the leading New Zealand historians before sadly dying in 2004, was the leading authority having written many books on his country's history.
And sure enough the book doesn't disappoint. It catalogues the history of New Zealand from initial settlement (well, at least the various theories of the initial settlements) right through to the current government. My main reason for getting this book was to learn more about the Maori interaction with British settlers and that was covered superbly.
I found this to be a very readable history book, not too dry, yet not too analytical either. Highly recommended.
It's taken me a year to get around to reading it - but once started, I read it in a week (and it's a big book, covering a huge subject). Fascinating, endlessly readable, and I was absolutely shocked by the fact that the author, erudite and knowledgeable as he obviously was, and able to put the story into layman's terms and still make it all interesting ... had died in a car accident only about a year after this book's publication.
For anyone wanting more than an overview, but not so dry an historical tome as such a history might present, I can only recommend highly. A more knowledgeable person might well be able to pick holes in it, but it gave me what I was looking for.
I must say, I found all the kiwis I met delightful - friendly and helpful, and this book goes a long way to showing me why they are like this. I don't usually write reviews, or indeed, buy anything but free kindle books these days as I have so many to read already, but I made an exception for this, and it is was well worth the purchase.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Not as expected; A large copy but nonetheless will be great for when I have eyesight trouble.Published 16 months ago by jodie Fitzgerald
This is my summer read as I do not go to NZ till later in the year but what I have glanced at looks good.Published on 3 Mar. 2014 by Paisleybuddy
This book is packed with information. It covers early geology (which is what I was particularly interested in) as well as a thorough account of the history of New Zealand. Read morePublished on 27 Feb. 2014 by Carol Ann
Reads like a novel but pack full of facts and provides considered opinions where data is missing. Should be a school text book.Published on 11 Dec. 2013 by J Lumlei
No not for me. Too wordy and not really what I was after. I would not recommend this one for reading.Published on 21 Feb. 2013 by maz
As King explains, New Zealanders like himself are only a few generations removed from the Western settlement and "founding" of his country. Read morePublished on 20 May 2012 by Brian Griffith
I'm a Brit with an enduring interest in NZ now I have a daughter living there. I found this book informative and interesting from start to finish, and feel that I now have a... Read morePublished on 13 Feb. 2012 by T/ A. Ogden
I bought this as it is widely considered `the' history of my new home - it's in all the shops and is widely known. Read morePublished on 24 Dec. 2008 by Overseas Reviewer